When it comes to learning a new language, many of us learn by reading, writing and repeating common phrases. The true test of seeing how well you know a language comes when having to speak it. Most people feel a bit anxious when speaking a foreign language because they are worried their grammar will be incorrect, they might get words wrong or their vocabulary is not good enough. It is completely normal to feel a bit insecure when learning a foreign language but it’s important not to let it stop you from trying to speak. As the saying goes, "practice makes perfect." The more you take yourself out of your comfort zone and attempt to speak, the more natural the language will feel to you. In our Junior Form Speaking Courses, students are encouraged to gain confidence in speech, by participating in various speaking exercises based on different topics. The students will be asked to perform all the exercises for each topic, of which there are 10 including, Gaming, Technology, Social Media and The World Around Us. Repetition is a great way to practice the skill of speaking in a new language, and building confidence. Definitions In this exercise, the teacher will give students a word to define. He/she will write down a few different answers and the students will have to guess which one is the grammatically correct definition. Other times, students will be asked to discuss the different definitions among themselves and choose the correct answers. Varying Vocabulary To aid students in building their vocabulary, teachers will list words and ask students to match them to the correct definitions. Building up a good vocabulary is important so you can adequately express yourself in your new language. By having a good vocabulary library to draw from, you can try to explain yourself and be creative with language. This way, if you’ve forgotten one word, you can explain it using other words you can remember. In another vocabulary exercise, teachers will ask students to make a sentence using specific words. This encourages context and good grammar usage. It’s important for students to get over the initial embarrassment of speaking in a new language. It is only natural to make mistakes and it is a crucial part of the learning process. 2 Minute Speech Students will be given two topics to choose from for their speech. They are encouraged to use the following framework for their speech. 1. Begin your speech with a question to catch the interest of the audience. In the introduction, students should introduce their speech and explain why it is important. 2. Speak from your personal experience. This lets the audience know that you are genuine. In the body of the speech, the main points are discussed. Students are encouraged to give 2 reasons to support their speech. 3. Finish with a clear 'call to action' statement. In the last part of the speech, students should discuss what their audience learned, and what they should they do with that knowledge. Students are encouraged to practice among themselves before the exam and have their friends grade them. This way, they get used to speaking in public and have the confidence they will need to perform in front of teachers and examiners. Pair Work This exercise is especially helpful for the IELTS style spoken exam. With partners, students take turns to interview each other for 10 minutes. They are asked to act exactly as the examiner would, by first introducing themselves. Examiners will ask the students questions based on the topics chosen beforehand. For example, if the topic is social media, the types of questions will be:
How often do you use social media?
Should everyone use social media?
What is the best way to use social media, on a computer, a tablet or on a phone?
Group Discussions This exercise is tailored for HKDSE style group discussions. In groups of 3 or 4, students are asked to discuss a topic for 6-8 minutes.
The students will be given 10 minutes to prepare their discussion and will then be asked to discuss it in front of the examiner. Vocabulary Reinforcement Students can build up their vocabulary in many ways, and teachers are encouraged to come up with creative exercises to use new words. One exercise is to unscramble words and then search for them in a word jumble.